Cornwall Museums Partnership and FEAST are challenging museums and artists to work together to generate original ideas for bringing more and different people into the museums of Cornwall to enjoy Cornwall’s unique heritage. For the third year, we are offering a joint small grants fund to enable the best ideas to be tested and delivered.
To get a better idea of the diverse range of projects that have enjoyed Bright Sparks support, here are the museums and artists who were successful last year.
Isles of Scilly Student Publication
The Islands’ Partnership worked with the Isles of Scilly Museum and the Five Islands Academy to produce a publication for visitors using selected artefacts as a starting point to explore local history.
Students visited the museum and interviewed local trustees and experts to investigate the islands’ rich heritage and changing fortunes over the past four thousand years.
The resulting guide for visiting families includes a young persons’ perspective on Scilly’s past, reflections on growing up on Cornwall’s islands and suggested activities linked to local culture and heritage.
Wish You Were Here
‘Wish You Were Here’ took as its starting point the idea of providing a winter escape for the residents of two nursing homes in Helston and the Lizard.
The Museum of Cornish Life worked with artist Susanna Webster, who brought to the project her creativity and experience working with residents in care homes, memory cafes and community settings in Cornwall. Together they designed a series of virtual visits to the museum using FaceTime. On these visits the residents were able to explore the museum and build relationships with the staff and volunteers without needing to travel.
This project allowed visitors who wouldn’t normally enjoy the museum to do so, and as a result of taking part, the nursing home residents became more comfortable using FaceTime and Skype to communicate with their own families. The museum purchased an iPad which they continue to use to help visitors engage with their collection.
The Looe Diehards
This project focussed on a little-known period in Looe’s history, the establishment in 1803 of the East and West Looe Volunteer Artillery during the Napoleonic era. The project wanted to remember this difficult time when the towns were despoiled of its trade by the threat of war and how the community came together.
The Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol worked with Sue Field, a local maker, community artist, and storyteller to help bring this story to life through the interplay of puppets as exhibits and animated characters. Archive material was used to write the stories of the Looe Diehard men, exquisite puppets of Captain Thomas Bond and Fisherman volunteer Pengelly were hand crafted and the museum’s team of volunteers were trained in their operation.
Building audiences and providing engaging and meaningful interactions is essential for the future of the museum and its collections. Through projects like this, The Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol can continue to promote and engage people with their local heritage.
Redefining the Museum Label: New Voices
Falmouth Art Gallery has been working with artist Felicity Tattersall, whose drawing practice is inspired by hidden narratives in museums and archives, and Curator Charlotte Davis to deliver this exciting public engagement project.
A variety of community groups have been given the opportunity to learn about the function and use of museum labels. During these workshops they have been invited to create their own imaginative and experimental museum labels using unusual materials, creative writing, drawing and digital media. This project is about rethinking how people from the local community connect with the work that is in the Gallery.
The project will culminate in a public exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery, a shared learning digital event and an open call for everyone to come and create their own label for a piece in the collection.
Remembering People from the Past
This is a collaborative project between Lostwithiel Museum and creative researcher Amanda Davidge, using the museum archives and collection to discover more about lives of important people from Lostwithiel’s past.
To begin with the team decided to research the fascinating life of Frances Hext (1819-1896) who had lived in the town and written a book Memorials of Lostwithiel (and of Restormell):collected and contributed. Amanda ran workshops with the museum volunteers to create assemblage memory boxes, family trees and journals to illustrate her life in a large display.
Following this, family history workshops will be offered to the wider community who wish to investigate the town’s history as well as their personal family history and create their own ‘story boxes’.
We are looking for genuine innovation and collaboration between the artist(s) and museum, and for ideas which would appeal to a broad range of the community. We are inviting proposals for creative projects which spark interest in what museums have to offer: we want more people interested in their heritage and more people doing or experiencing something creative.
We are offering a number of small grants of up to £2,500. The project must involve some form of tangible activity or event with which the community can get involved.
Selection of successful projects will be made by a panel of FEAST and Cornwall Museum Partnership directors and a member of each organisation’ s board or advisory group. The deadline for applications is 27th October 2019 and decisions will be announced shortly afterwards.
To apply, please download and complete the application form below.
– Emma Leaper
FEAST Programme Administrator